LOS ANGELES (LA Times) — A mysterious jerky treat-related illness that has killed more than 500 dogs and cats and sickened thousands more has prompted to U.S. Food and Drug Administration to request the help of pet owners.
On Tuesday, the FDA asked pet owners and veterinarians to contact them if their dog or cat has become ill after eating jerky pet treats — packaged snacks made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes or dried fruit.
At least 3,600 dogs and 10 cats have become ill after eating jerky treats since 2007, according to the FDA. Of those cases, 580 have involved the death of a pet.
While the agency has issued a number of consumer alerts as a result, and has initiated investigations that have taken scientists to jerky treat manufacturers in China, they have yet to determine the exact cause of the illnesses.
“This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered,” read a prepared statement from Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “Our beloved four-legged companions deserve our best effort, and we are giving it.”
In a “Dear Veterinarian” letter issued Tuesday, FDA officials told veterinarians that they may request samples of urine or tissues from affected animals and provided instructions on how to report cases to the administration.
Read more at LATimes.com.